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The Vera Project 

Description

Vera gives people of all ages – particularly youth, 14-24 – the space and resources they need to participate in music and the arts. Most music venues are restricted to those over 21, and arts education is increasingly hard to access. Vera addresses these issues through all-ages concerts at its Seattle Center venue, and an innovative fusion of arts education and youth engagement that develops employable skills, fosters youth leadership and cultivates the future of the music and arts community.

Mission Statement
The Vera Project is a music and arts center dedicated to fostering a participatory creative culture through popular music concerts, arts programs, experiential learning and volunteer opportunities for all ages, especially young people.
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The Vera Project
305 Harrison St 
Seattle 
WA
98109-4623 
(206) 956-8372 

Andy Fife 
Interim Co-Director 

Programs

The Vera Project Programs

Vera’s music and art presentation programming includes 1-4 all-ages concerts every week, monthly visual art shows, and all-ages programming at festivals such as Capitol Hill Block Party. Concerts promote artistic experimentation and excellence, and feature local and touring artists of a range of genres. Vera combines acclaimed artists from the cutting edge of today’s music scene with young and emerging talent. Art shows in Vera’s gallery expose thousands to new work by youth and adults.

Education programs include silkscreen printing/classes, audio engineering training, live and studio recording, and music/event production training. Structured classes merge with experiential learning at Vera events to give participants the skills they need to produce quality art and become the future of Seattle’s $1.2 billion music industry. Many participants use the experience gained at Vera to launch creative projects and careers at music venues, labels, and arts/non-profit organizations.

Vera functions through a participatory structure that fosters collaboration between youth and adults. Youth participate throughout the organization, from running concerts to directing programming to serving on the Board. By integrating youth as volunteers, governing Members and interns, Vera stays relevant to constituents, fosters youth leadership, and makes the organization a true partnership between youth and adults. Over 80 youth help govern Vera, and over 270 volunteer annually.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Vera’s youth-leadership structure has seen record participation, and Vera has channeled this into improved programming and new learning opportunities. For example, Vera’s youth/volunteer-led Gallery Committee has raised the profile/quality of Vera’s visual art presentation through a new internship, a streamlined curatorial process and acclaimed monthly shows with national and local artists. The gallery now serves over 1,000 annually and gives youth hands-on arts-administration experience.

The Vera Project’s primary current need is for general support. Since opening its Seattle Center venue in 2007, Vera has expanded vastly, serving more people than ever while expanding programs and increasing efficiency; in 2010 Vera’s cost-per-client was $11.02, compared to $20.53 in 2005 when Vera served 17,000 people. To sustain this success, Vera needs a strong base of general operating and program funding. Vera also has many opportunities for volunteer and in-kind support.

Evaluation


Since 2001, the Vera Project (Vera) has provided a safe, accessible, and substance-free space for people of all ages to enjoy quality music and art while developing artistic and professional skills. Vera offers low-cost popular art access and participation to all young people and combines quality entertainment with educational programming. In addition to its music and arts presentation, Vera offers classes in silkscreening, sound engineering, and studio recording, as well as volunteer experience in presenting and managing shows at Vera.

Collaboration
Vera collaborates with a number of local organizations, including the Capitol Hill Block Party, Northwest Film Forum, Seattle Center festivals and others, in programming and reaching new constituents. Additionally, they maintain strong relationships with other music venues in the region, as Vera helps to build the future audiences and supporters of these venues. Vera also recommends youth that have gone through their show management and sound engineer classes and volunteer training programs, often leading to employment opportunities for these youth in a field that can be difficult to break into. Finally, Vera offers support to similar organizations in other areas by sharing all its materials and resources in an open source format.

Leadership
Vera operates with a unique tri-director model, with the Managing Director, Program Director, and Development Director sharing the leadership responsibilities. These directors are guided by an engaged and representative Board of Directors, as well as a youth-led Membership. This Membership provides a voice for the fundamental constituency of Vera, as well as giving them an opportunity for professional and personal skill development, as they share roles and responsibilities with the Board.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Vera provides a safe and substance-free space for people of all ages to enjoy music and art. Most music venues are aimed at individuals 21 and over, leaving little opportunity for youth to attend shows and connect to these art forms. Additionally, they engage youth in all levels of the organization: from participating in arts and event production to administration and nonprofit governance. They focus on diversity in their presentations, and have hired an outreach intern to engage with underrepresented groups.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
9/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/17/2008 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/5/2006 $35,000.00support the Viva Vera Capital Campaign.

Financials

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